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Energy as ‘commons’

Energiewende Duitsland

The German Energiewende: in Germany there’s a strong feeling the energy supply is a general public interest.

The benefits to society of more stringent climate policy; renewable energy for energy-intensive industries; a new role for the gas industry in accelerating the energy transition; the use of LNG as an alternative to heavy fuel oil for shipping; the roadmap for ‘Green and Renewable Gas’; economic use of industrial waste streams; power plants at Eemshaven Port.

These are just a few of the projects De Gemeynt has realised over the past few years in the realm of energy and climate. All of them projects where industry, NGOs and the government have an interest in garnering public support – and for which solutions can only be found if enough stakeholders can identify with those solutions. There are a number of common threads running through the projects carried out by De Gemeynt: energy systems are growing more sustainable, companies are coming to operate more sustainably, and they’re helping secure the Netherlands’ energy and climate targets. The key question in all these projects is how to achieve broad consensus among stakeholders on how to flesh out project strategy and implementation and shape results.

Although our energy systems are now part-liberalised and privatised, they’re of vital importance for society as a whole, given their impacts on climate, the space around us, our health, our economic development and our relations with other nations – be they friend or foe. We see a sustainable energy supply as a typical ‘Gemeynt’-issue, for it revolves around our dealings with shared resources – the commons, in Dutch de gemeynt – in which everyone has a stake. To view the energy supply and a stable climate as a ‘commons’ means we need a vision that enjoys broad support and a set of rules to play by that steers each of the players towards that vision.

 

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